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  • Christian Michael

Baking from Birth

Sugar. My whole life, I’ve been enamored by it. Fascinated with it, confused by it, intimidated by it, and lately, obsessed. When I was a toddler, my mom would pull the old vintage stepstool to the counter so I could help her bake. The green vinyl top was cracked and worn from years of use and being moved across the Atlantic-twice- but still held up.

We were working in a small, dark kitchen in the backside of an old house with laminate floors, an electric coil stove, plastic countertops, and a dirt root cellar. Nestled right in bourbon country, I spent most of my childhood waking up to the smell of sour bourbon mash permeating the small city I lived in- Bardstown Kentucky, The Bourbon Capitol of the World.

My childhood was surrounded by food, family, and life. My mother tended not only a moderately sized garden, but also an herb patch, blueberry bushes, black raspberry bushes, strawberry plants, and grapevines. She baked bread almost every single day when I was very young and she stayed at home. I remember very fondly the frequency at which she would cook and bake, and how rare it was for us as a family to eat a meal that my mother didn’t prepare for us.

In addition to my mother, my grandmother has a huge influence on my love for baking. My grandmother always had trays of cinnamon rolls, pecan rolls, jelly filled rolls, raisin cookies, potato doughnuts, fudge, cheesecake and anything else you could think of ready to satisfy her grandchildren’s sweet teeth.

Summers at grandma’s meant fresh strawberry shortcake, apple pie using apples from her own tree, grilled local bratwurst from a historic local deli, and local big band concerts where she played the clarinet and my grandfather played the tuba. To say that my family influences my love for baking is an understatement.

Another influential woman in my life and love for baking is my second grade teacher and family friend Traci. She used to run these baking and cooking classes during spring and fall breaks and it really made me fall in love with it. She used to give out this “golden spoon” award and damn if I didn’t try so hard to win it! I finally did after a few years! I actually fell in love with teapots (which I collect, and have 19 of!) because of her as well.

I am so happy to be able to share my love of baking with the whole world now!

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